Indian authorities have reported that 20 of their soldiers have died during a clash with Chinese troops along the border between the two countries. The region had long been a disputed area in the Himalayan Mountains. The incident marks the worst military confrontation between the parties for several decades.
A broken silence
The Wall Street Journal reports that Indian officials stated the Chinese side also received casualties on their side. A Chinese spokesman said the encounter occurred when Indian soldiers showed provocative intentions in a region that they claimed is under China's control.
It is currently unknown how the Indian troops suffered their fate. Still, one senior military official revealed some of the men were beaten to death with blunt weapons such as clubs that were embedded with nails in a fight that did not utilize guns.
Both sides agreed to protocols that prohibited the use of guns to avoid deadly encounters from happening.
Initially, only three soldiers died during the confrontation. Still, Indian officials later added that the other 17 soldiers succumbed to their injuries after being exposed to harsh environmental conditions, as reported by CNN.
The casualties mark the first time in 40 years that deaths have been reported amid the growing tensions of the two countries along the border.
Reportedly, senior military officials from both countries are now discussing to lessen tensions within the region.
Accusations of invasion
Zhao Lijian, the foreign ministry spokesman of China, said that their neighbour country had crossed the border on Monday twice, showing provocative signs and assaulting their personnel that sparked the severely physical confrontation.
Both sides insisted that no shot was fired during the encounter. However, details of the incident remain unclear, as reported by BBC.
Analysts state that neither party would want the tension to escalate, India, in particular, would be at a disadvantage with its weaker military might than China.
The leaders of the two countries, China's Xi Jinping, and India's Narendra Modi have taken severely decisive decisions that increase the risk of conflict ensuing on a larger scale.
According to The New York Times, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Ashley J. Tellis believes that neither Xi nor Modi would benefit from a war. Still, neither could also give up on their territorial control.
The dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, Sreeram Chaulia, stated that the Asian country is taking risky steps assuming India is being held back by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Chaulia added India is continually increasing its preparations to maintain a ready defence against the Chinese nation and its attempts at breaching its territory.
Kanti Prasad Bajpai, a professor of international relations in Singapore, said both countries are pressured to maintain a strong ego on a global stage. He also stated China is worried over India's growing ties with the United States, and India is concerned with China's growing support and influence in South Asia, specifically, its rising relations with Pakistan.